Killer Fables: Yun Ch'iho, bourgeois enlightenment, and the free laborer

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Drawing on Yun Ch'iho's Diary, and outlining some of the ideological and transnational aspects of a Protestant, bourgeois consciousness that emerged in Korea at the turn of the last century, this article presents a critical reassessment of liberalism, Protestant Christianity, and the type of free laborer that bourgeois Protestants like Yun Ch'iho wanted to create. As a pious liberal, Yun Ch'iho led efforts to establish civic and religious organizations that sought to construct a free conscience that would form and maintain public opinion. This was a militant agenda in the sense that, like the evangelical teachers he met in Shanghai and at Emory College, Yun wanted to build public pressure to dismantle the Confucian political order. As a Protestant entrepreneur of free men, Yun sought to "kill the Korean." This militant, liberal agenda aimed to discipline and embody new desires, especially among youth, to produce the free laborer, and to render the extraction of profit as a form of exchange.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-174
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Korean Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
By the time Yun arrived at Emory in the summer of 1891, he had already become quite proficient at marketing his self-narrative and narrative of Korea. Yun had received financial support from Vanderbilt University, and at Emory College he received a scholarship from the Emory YMCA. At the time both Vanderbilt and Emory were controlled by the MECS.47 He was the recipient of monetary gifts (some of them anonymous) as well as loans from people affiliated with the MECS and known to Young J. Allen.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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